Press Release

VocalEssence Puts on a Big Show (or Nine) with Diverse 47th Season

Jennifer Weismann


Celebrated Twin Cities choral organization announces new season
promoting diverse communities—through the voice

MINNEAPOLIS—March 14, 2015—Acclaimed Minneapolis-based choral ensemble VocalEssence—recognized internationally for its innovative explorations of music—announces an intriguing 47th season of concerts. The 2015-2016 lineup celebrates many genres of music through the lens of diverse communities, and includes something for everyone.

The season will offer nine outstanding concerts, including:

  • Dreams of the Fallen, October 11, 2015: Iraq war veteran and poet Brian Turner and one of choral music’s hottest young composers, Jake Runestad, capture what it means to survive 21st century war in the Midwest premiere of their award-winning Dreams of the Fallen for chorus, solo piano, and orchestra, featuring VocalEssence. Unique among music representing the struggles of war, Dreams of the Fallen gives voice to the impact violence has on soldiers long after they leave the battlefield. The concert will also bring hope and healing to the soldier’s experience through beautiful and mystical music including Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Vaughan William’s Toward the Unknown Region.
  • VocalEssence Presents: Voz en Punto, November 15, 2015: Mix The Real Group, Manhattan Transfer and The King’s Singers, and you get a cappella Mexican vocal jazz ensemble Voz en Punto! With fans including Ward Swingle and Bobby McFerrin, Voz en Punto wows audiences not only with its technical perfection, but with a sophisticated and humorous performance that is sure to put a smile on your face!
  • VocalEssence Welcome Christmas, December 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 2015: Jazz up the holiday season with VocalEssence and Nils Lindberg’s A Christmas Cantata for chorus and big band. Combining jazz with two world-premiere trumpet compositions and Christmas favorites to sing means audiences will surely have a swing in their step!
  • Star of Wonder, December 12, 2015: Come listen, clap, dance and sing at Star of Wonder, our annual one-hour family Christmas concert. Kids sit up close as members of the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers perform familiar holiday music, including a rousing (if a little goofy) “Twelve Days of Christmas” sing-along. Bring the whole family—sippy cups and teddy bears are welcome!
  • River Songs and Tales with Mark Twain, January 30, April 8, 9, 16, 2016: The popular tour featuring the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers and local news legend Don Shelby as Mark Twain returns, thanks to an Arts Tour grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board! Through choral music and the spoken word, VocalEssence takes listeners on a musical journey of the Mississippi River’s past and present—choral masterpieces, favorite folksongs, traditional spirituals, and Americana—all paired with the words of Mark Twain.
  • VocalEssence WITNESS: Morehouse College Glee Club, February 21, 2016: Glee clubs are so much more than a made-for-TV drama, and with Morehouse College Glee Club, low notes have never been so high! Founded in Atlanta in 1867, Morehouse College remains the only all-male historically black college in the nation. Its Glee Club is known for its musical precision, wide-ranging repertoire and distinguished alumni—including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. VocalEssence, a Minneapolis Youth Chorus and the Glee Club will share the stage with guest conductor David Morrow.
  • Four Saints in Three Acts, March 19-20, 2016: A piece that many believe changed American opera when it premiered in 1934, Four Saints in Three Acts has something for music and literature lovers alike! Set in 16th-century Spain, the playfully humorous Four Saints traces the lives of saints on Earth through a witty libretto by Gertrude Stein and a stunning score by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Virgil Thomson. VocalEssence reimagines the groundbreaking piece on the stage of the Goodale Theater.
  • Listeners’ Choice LIVE, April 22, 24, 2016: Classical Minnesota Public Radio and VocalEssence are giving you the reins! VocalEssence will perform a top 15 countdown of a cappella and piano-accompanied choral pieces, voted on by the audience—and listeners from all 50 states. Will number one be Aaron Copland’s “Simple Gifts,” Randall Thompson’s “Alleluia,” or John Rutter’s “What Sweeter Music?” Stay tuned to org this fall to participate in the national vote!
  • VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! Community Concerts 2016, May 23, 2016: Experience the music of our southern neighbors at a multi-generational fiesta! Prominent Mexican composers work as composers-in-residence with school choirs, community choruses, and VocalEssence to bring the sounds of Mexico to Minnesota. Join us for the culmination of their hard work—a family-friendly, bilingual music celebration!

“VocalEssence has always been about championing all cultures and genres in choral music,” said Philip Brunelle, VocalEssence artistic director and founder. “The new season reflects that through a diverse range of human experience, but also diverse styles and sounds of music to bring, naturally, a new and exciting sound to our stage.”

The always-popular VocalEssence season tickets will go on sale starting Saturday, March 14, 2015. For season tickets, details about the season, individual tickets and other information, please visit, call 612-371-5642 or find us on Facebook.

VocalEssence, called “one of the irreplaceable music ensembles of our time” by Dana Gioia, past chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, impacts thousands of students, singers, and composers each year through its initiative programs, contests, and support for innovative art. VocalEssence was founded in 1969 and has debuted more than 150 commissions and world premieres. For more information, visit